2 – The Plague

Hello everyone, the Historian finally here. Let me, first and foremost, apologize deeply for the huge delay between posts. I have plenty of excuses, but none of that matters. I can only say that I will try to be more prompt in the future. Getting “meta” for a moment, I can say that what has been tripping me up has been the high level of detail in my summaries–they do take a lot out of me! The solution I’ve come up with, to try and catch people up with the discussions (which are actually the point of this whole thing) is to do a summary in a few sentences for now. I may go back later and insert longer summaries later. I will also include links to the episode transcripts that have helped me get the level of detail lately. Again, I apologize to our readers and the Project members.

Now, several weeks ago I was joined by Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm, Spoo, MisterMother, Photobug and Cz to watch another episode aboard the ship to Refusis II. Let’s get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 12 March 1966. The Doctor, Steven and Dodo are imprisoned as the fever spreads throughout the Ark. Guardians are getting sick, but Monoids are both getting sick and dying! The travellers are put on trial, with Mellium and Manyak acting for the defense and Steven in the dock. During the trial, just as a guilty verdict is reached, Steven collapses–he has caught the fever! The Doctor is allowed to try to cure the fever, though he has to use Steven as a guinea pig. With help from a Guardian virologist and a Monoid, the Doctor manages to cure first Steven, then the Commander, then everyone. In the end, even Zentos admits he was wrong, and the travellers leave with good feelings all around. They return to the TARDIS and dematerialize…only to reappear in exactly the same place seemingly moments later! But the jungle is empty. Dodo runs ahead, calling for their friends, but is stopped short. The three look up and see that the giant statue has been finished…but instead of a giant human, it has the head of a Monoid….!

Episode Transcript

(Finally!) Ketina’s Krazy Konversation Transcript

H: Historian
K: Ketina
R: Ronelyn
Sc: Schmallturm
Sp: Spoo
M: MisterMother
P: Photobug
Cz: Cz

H: That was actually as good as I remember it being. I really liked it.

Sp: “That was awesome”

H: Spoo, what did you like about the episode?

Sp: Everything!

H: Everything? Is there anything you liked in particular?

Sp: Just two words: Awe – Some.

H: And thank you for filling in for Mini-Spoo this week.

M: So, the virus apparently causes overacting.

Sp: It’s a sign of the fever. It makes your back arch, and you neck stick out, and you get more urgent with people that are right next to you.

M: I liked the commander’s overreaction to the injection.

R: Apparently, the metal was very cold!

H: It wasn’t even an injection. It was a slap patch.

P: You no longer crave smoking after that.

Sp: You’ve cured him if the fever and nicotine addiction.

H: I was disappointed that the Doctor and the Commander didn’t have many more scenes together, as we could have had dueling coots.

M: What happened to the driver of the car during the funeral?

H: Good question!

P: I was thinking the same thing.

R: So, am I think only one who didn’t feel terrible bad about the Monoids taking over from the racist humans?

H: I didn’t think they were that racist.

R: What, barely upset about several of the Monoids dying as long as none of the humans die?

H: That was a little bothersome. But it was clear that every human had a specific role, but the Monoids appeared very interchangeable.

M: I’m suspicious of the Monoids. They definitely seem to have an agenda.

H: Last week the Monoids seemed very simple, and yet this week they seemed a lot more sophisticated.

P: The Doctor had a conversation with one… why did they need to use sign language?

M: The Monoids liked watching the humans doing the sign-language – watching the monkeys dance.

R: “Standing right here! I’m mute, not stupid.”

Sp: Do you think the “attack of the soundtrack” was just warbly tape or intentional?

P: There was definitely a door sound effect that went on too long.

Sp: Could have been “attack of the soundtrack” there.

H: I think they added some noise to cover up some other noise. This one has been extensively restored.

M: If you’re going to use the “let’s cut away from the scene to have to explain the bits” thing, let’s not do it twice in a row! “The virus is…” and immediately later “You need two…”

H: It’s a shame they couldn’t use a real elephant for that scene.

Sp: Or the lizard.

R: The Monoid was holding up a lizard as stiff as a board when they were collecting the samples.

H: It’s interesting that the Doctor thinks that the temperature going down and a fever going down meant two different things.

R: When the Doctor said that, my immediate thought was “he’s stone dead, let’s try it on the other one now.”

P: I had the same exact reaction. Time for CPR now…

Sp: So, every human on the ship has a specific role. It is vital that they all stay alive. So, a) the dude that got shrunk was not important, and b) the ones in storage are just breeders?

H: Presumably they can un-shrink someone who could be trained.

R: Again, this is probably the “B Ark.”

Sc: I liked it. I liked the slow mobiles. It was awesome.

K: Missing last week wasn’t a detractor?

Sc: Not really. Dudes in Speedos in space, elephants, one eyed dudes in space. Pretty clear.

P: It really moves.

H: It’s a well constructed story. And it has a fake out at the end of the episode. And at the end it looks like the end of a two-part story.

Sp: We knew there was more going on. The statue of the Monoid was pretty cool.

P: So, the blueprint for the statue wasn’t followed?

K: Sometime in the intervening years someone changed it. Muhuhahah.

Sp: “The humans are bad, the humans are infecting us. Oh, the rule of law says that we let the humans run amok trying to cure us.” What? I’m surprised the let typhoid Dodo run around giving everyone the vaccine before they’d proved that it worked.

P: I wonder if the miniaturized people could have gotten the disease?

Sp: It would have been a horrible way to go, as the germ would have been the same size as the dude.

H: No, that story doesn’t happen until the Tom Baker era. Anyway, it’s either a strength or a failing, that the guy who appeared to be the villain was a good guy at the end. No one here was really bad. I liked it, but some viewers may see that as a weakness.

M: They said it right in the story. He was afraid of the unknown.

H: It’s been criticized about the story, but I think it worked.

M: That it was less cliché?

Sp: But the story isn’t over. We haven’t gotten to see the real villain yet.

R: It worked for me. There have been Trek episodes too where the so-called bad guy at the end is like “I don’t know what the heck I was thinking!” It worked for me. What I don’t forgive is his overacting. At first he’s like “I don’t know if I like these people.” to “Oh my god, someone got sick! Burn them to space!” He doesn’t really have a middle gear does he?

Sc: I just generally don’t see the overacting that you guys are always complaining about.

H: I agree. It can get a little over the top, but it’s in the oeuvre of the show.

Sp: Are you talking about the “om-noming” of the scenery?

Sc: I don’t see the scenery chewing that you do.

M: Come on, the old guy was really over the top in this one.

Sc: I suppose, but I don’t really see it, and it doesn’t really bother me.

H: I’m glad it doesn’t bother you, because I love it.

R: It certainly didn’t wreck the episode for me. I thought this one came together better than a lot of the episodes that we’ve seen. It wasn’t like “Oh god, we’re back in the cave again!” This was more like “Good, we’ve solved the problem. Oh wait, we didn’t solve the problem.”

M: Could it be that we’ve gotten so good at dissecting these episodes that we’ve lost our sense of joy in seeing them?

P: I agree, but I still enjoy the episodes.

M: The commentary may be coming off as more negative than we think.

H: I’ve reread most of the commentaries and the majority of them have been very positive. I think that we, as we’re sitting here talking, just remember the criticisms. Bad is funny, and we tend to remember the funny bits the most. We do over-analyze, but we’ve generally been positive.

Sp: Getting a bit meta, aren’t we?

K: We’re over-analyzing our analysis right now, and our readers (?) are getting bored. Okay, this typist is getting bored, anyway.

H: Final thoughts, then?

M: Oh god, Ronelyn put down the knife!

Sc: Awe. Some.

P: Some. Awe.

Cz: It was a good episode. Awe. Some. There was some awe that happened.

M: Very nice. Classic clever sci-fi story.

H: The generational ship kind of thing?

M: Yeah. Everything, from the disease, the sheltered populous, everything.

Sp: The cellophane cage.

Sp: In the future, when all the zoo animals on the ark have one eye…

H: No.

Sp: It’s a Monoid thing.

H: Okay.

Sp: It was fun. I had fun, and I have no idea where they’re going next. It was refreshing.

R: I was amused that apparently all records of civilization are lost, but they still have guinea pigs.

Sp: They have two of them, right there in the jungle.

R: Right next to the Komodo dragons. Oh dear, and there they go.

Sp: Because if they shrink the guinea pigs they’re not going to be able to find them.

K: It was fun. I am enjoying this one more than the last several, but the moving pictures and the science fiction elements help.

P: Moving pictures but with a vehicle that doesn’t move at all.

*beep beep sounds, of the truck slowly backing up*

P: What was the deal with the comet?

M: That was the earth burning up from the super nova.

H: They were already traveling for hundreds of years. It hadn’t burned up yet?

R: They said that it was the end at last.

M: They said, “look at the earth scan.” Maybe it was due to the speed of the light traveling towards them.


H: My final thoughts are going to echo my first thoughts. The first time I saw this story was also episode by episode, and I remember loving it. And I’m loving it just as much this time.

As a historical note, I’ll add that we watched this episode on 21 May, 2011. I will be adding more posts over the next few days to try and catch up to what we’re watching tomorrow. All things going well, this “mini-summary” format will help me get back to posting weekly. Until then, I remain